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Nine Days in May
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Strangers with MemoriesStrangers with Memories

The United States and Canada from Free Trade to Baghdad

John Stewart

Narrated by Aaron Adams

Available from Audible

Book published by McGill-Queen's University Press

In the early 1990s North America was the vibrant centre of an increasingly democratic and revitalized western hemisphere. The United States and Canada were close allies working together to implement a bilateral free trade agreement and build an integrated manufacturing and export economy. By the late 2000s, the economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries were strained as policies stagnated or slipped backward and passports were needed to cross the border for the first time in history. By 2017 the US planned to wall off its border with Mexico and NAFTA was slated for renegotiation.

In Strangers with Memories John Stewart combines an insider’s knowledge, a mole’s perspective, and a historian’s consciousness to explain how two countries that spent the twentieth century building a world order together drifted so quickly apart in the early years of the twenty-first - and how that world order began its current shift. Assessing the major forces and events in North America’s development between 1990 and 2010, this book also details changes at the US embassy in Ottawa during those years and its relationship with US consulates in Canada and with the State Department’s Canada desk. Explaining how Canada's influence in the world depends on the US and has radically diminished with the decline in US diplomacy under presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, Stewart gives valuable advice on how Canada should handle its foreign policy in a much less stable world.

From the viewpoint of a Canadian with a front-row seat to two decades of US-Canada relations, Strangers with Memories chronicles Canada at the apogee of American power.

John Stewart is director of policy and research at the Canadian Nuclear Association. He spent twenty years as an economist and manager inside the US embassy in Ottawa.


“John Stewart had a front-row seat on two decades of recent US-Canada relations, and he was not just a studious observer, but a player as well. Strangers with Memories is thoughtful, wide-ranging, and fluidly written. I was especially impressed with the author?s accuracy in capturing both the mood and detail of the complicated US-Canada relationship despite the number of topics and period of time he covers.”

—Stephen R. Kelly, Duke University

“A bottom-up inside look at how the U.S. manages (or mismanages) its relationship with Canada ... recounting Canada's declining relevance to Washington both in the later Clinton years and in the Bush years.”

—Terry Breese, Deputy Chief of Mission (2007-10)

“John Stewart's book is smart, original, authoritative, and engaging. He takes us into the wheelhouse of Canadian-American diplomacy and offers new, sharp insight. A fine contribution to the literature.”

—Andrew Cohen, School of Journalism and Communication

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University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks